The ARPC pairs with various state agencies, local government and non-governmental entities and organizations to form a burgeoning Environmental Planning program. Staff regularly interacts with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Economic Opportunity, Northwest Florida Water Management District, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and others. Further, staff is involved in or partners with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, RiverWay South Apalachicola Choctawhatchee, The Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Program, and others for various projects, events, or training opportunities.
ARPC staff is working with the Northwest Florida Water Management District to complete an update on the Apalachicola River and Bay Surface Water Improvement and Management Plan. Public meetings are planned for Spring 2017. The Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve has recently published a fantastic video on the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River basin for the education of the public which corresponds with this SWIM Plan update.
- The ARPC was recently awarded a Technical Assistance grant proposal to the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) for the “Chattahoochee to Bristol Trail” with nearly a dozen letters of support from various local governments and proximate entities. Staff has completed the first half of this project. This submission included three primary proposed routing options vetted by local stakeholders and a variety of agencies utilizing LIDAR and other data. These options, potential funding sources, and other information will be presented at the next public meeting. This meeting will be held in Chattahoochee Spring 2017.
- The ARPC partners with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to complete the Small Quantity Generator Program in Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Jefferson, Liberty, and Wakulla counties annually. This program, funded by the Water Quality Assurance Trust Fund, involves compliance assistance visits to local businesses that may store or generate hazardous chemicals. The program is geared toward education and outreach regarding appropriate storage and disposal.
- ARPC staff fill the coordinator and administrator positions for the Riparian County Stakeholder Coalition (RCSC). The RCSC, comprised of the six riparian counties that border the Apalachicola River, includes Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, and Liberty counties. The RCSC was created by Resolution in 2007 and by Compact Agreement in 2012 to protect, support, and maintain the values of the Apalachicola River riparian counties both individually and collectively. The RCSC allows for the six counties to speak in one unified voice, provide a one point-of-contact for management issues and programs relating to the Apalachicola River, and promote the need for State and Federal funding to conduct technical evaluations and documentation.
- ARPC staff holds the “Water Quality” interest seat for the Apalachicola Caucus of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint Stakeholders (ACFS). Staff attended the most recent governing board meeting in Columbus, Georgia. The ACFS is diverse group of individuals, corporations, and non-profit organizations throughout Alabama, Florida, and Georgia that represent all of the interests within the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint basin.
- Staff paired with FDEP, West Florida Regional Planning Council, and US EPA in hosting the Fourth Annual Northwest Florida Brownfield Redevelopment Forum. The Santa Rosa Press Gazette provided some highlights from the event.
- ARPC staff has a number of additional projects aimed at the preservation and improvement of the Apalachee Region’s environment in the near future.
For more information, please contact Joe Crozier at (850) 488-6211 ext. 104.